Best and Worst of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival: 'Beasts of the Southern Wild,' 'Lay the Favorite,' 'The Surrogate'
What to see and avoid when these flicks come your way
Worst: 'The Ambassador'
"Red Chapel" director had a devilish idea in "The Ambassador," exposing the corrupt system of diplomatic paperwork that can allow anybody with money the opportunity to go to a poor African nation and drain it of its riches. What could have been a pitch-black colonialist satire in the vein of Graham Greene or Joseph Conrad or John LeCarre instead becomes... very little. Despite a terrific starting point, "The Ambassador" quickly squanders its goodwill and becomes a lot of Brugger meeting people, Brugger yelling into the phone and Brugger meeting with high-ranking officials and negotiating. The "Wow, this is REALLY corrupt!" thesis is proven five minutes into the movie, leaving a lot of wheel-spinning from a director who proves, for the second straight film, that he has a lot to say, but no clear sense of how to say it.
- Daniel Fienberg